There seems to be some (erroneous) belief that you cannot run a godly business today. That somehow, the laws and morals of this world make it absolutely impossible to honor God with our talents and skills (both of which He has provided). Or that, in running a Godly business, you have to somehow force your beliefs on someone else if they work for you.
I stand before God and declare to all of you that such is completely false. Not only can you honor God, you can hire non-believers and never once force your beliefs on them, though of course it is a great chance to minister to them in how you run your business and deal with not just them but others as well. Your actions will go so much further than any words you could share with them.
I have recently started moving forward with two businesses of my own. Not because I have any great business acumen but because this is where I felt God leading me before my cancer, and he burden He has lain on my heart hasn’t changed since. God told me to go, His word said He has already provided all I need for ministry, so I just needed to go.
Since God said it, and His word doesn’t return void, I have taken hold of it and gone forth. I haven’t regretted a minute of it, even though sometimes I wish I wasn’t self-employed, the good work I have been doing (and the awesome customers I’ve been getting) has reinforced my belief God truly is leading me to ministry through my skills and talents. He’s provided, and I know as long as I remain faithful, He will continue to provide what I need, when I need it.
How does run a Godly business, then? Well, the first place God took me in Scriptures was the Psalms. You wouldn’t believe how how much in Psalms applies to doing business. Psalm 1 really sets the foundation, not just for personal interactions, but business ones as well. God makes no distinction between the two, you see. No where in Scripture does God say “And this only applies to your personal lives” or “And this only applies to doing business.” He does, however, outline how women are to conduct themselves in business (Proverbs 31:10-31). It is no different to the men, who are indeed held to a much, much higher standard as they are Christ’s representatives in the household (Ephesians 5:22-33).
There are tons more Scripture the Lord revealed to me (some I was already aware of) to show me just how serious He is:
Psalms 1: God knows not just our hearts and intentions, but our actions. Not only does this apply to how we deal with unbelievers (we preach to and teach them as we are led by the Spirit) but how we conduct ourselves in all situations. As True Believers, one cannot separate their faith from any other aspect of their life. Doing so says that you believe God has no business there. Its simply untrue, given how everything we have comes from God to begin with. Government, money, relationships, sexuality. It all comes from Him and it all comes with caveats that He has placed on a people unable to restrain themselves in any type of sin. I try to live this in how I deal with customers and potential customers. My delight is in the LORD, no matter what may become of a bid (that isn’t to say I’m not hurt when I lose one, but it is just one of those things that goes with the territory).
Psalms 15: This is a hard one to live by. In a day and age when it’s possible (and to a degree accepted as part of doing business) to lie, cheat, and steal your way to the top, standing by one’s word – no matter the cost – becomes the hardest thing in the world to do. With no support – aside from Godly mentors and – most importantly – God Himself – from others, one can find themselves quickly standing alone when standing by their word could have negative consequences. Who are we without being able to stand by our word? Christ Himself taught that our “yes should be yes and our no should be no” (paraphrased from Christ’s words in Matthew 5:33-37, and repeated again by James (the brother of Christ) in James 5:12). Don’t swear oaths, but be true to your word. I will confess I haven’t been as perfect in this as I could have been, but there is no time like the present to change that.
Psalm 34:8-10: In seeking the LORD, we are assured that we shall not lack any good thing. If our only focus is mammon, however, what do we gain? Every True Believer should be embracing this daily. Seek the LORD in fearful reverence. Seek out His Will and trust fully only in Him. We certainly lose nothing by doing so and – according to this very Scripture – we stand to gain all that He sees as being good for us. There is no “name-it and claim-it” doctrine in Holy Scripture, and this passage certainly doesn’t promote that. What it does, though, is remind us to keep our focus on God. His blessings are all meant to point to spiritual truths, not physical well-being. Those who follow Christ 110% are His Spiritual Israel. His chosen people, and He will not let them fall. This is something we all need to work on, myself included, as evidenced by not only our own moral struggles but by the moral decay of society as a whole. Turn to the LORD, trust in Him, seek out the LORD, and He will keep you.
Psalm 37:5-8: I’m still working on this or more to the point, I’m still working on letting God deal with this. His shoulders can carry it much better than I can. God presents us many opportunities for work, ministry, trade, and social interactions. This really echoes what was said in Psalm 34:8-10 (and also Psalms 1 and 15). Commit your ways to the LORD, trust in Him, rest in the LORD, be patient for Him to move, do not be angry or wrathful, and don’t fret/worry (this rebuke on worrying is also repeated by Christ in Matthew 6:25-34). Let God tend to our daily lives. He can manage them better than we ever could (just look at all the problems we have to see the truth in this). Let God tend to our business dealings. Let God tend to all that we need, that way we can tend to what God wants us to focus on doing.
Psalm 37:27-31: This Psalm goes on, in these later verses, to remind us to depart from evil, to do what is good in His eyes, it tells of His love of true justice, how our own mouths and tongues should proclaim us as both righteous and just without us having to use those labels on ourselves, how God’s laws are on our hearts, and our steps not being idle (e.g. they are always filled with Godly purpose). It is only by showing that we are truly His – without rabbinical legalism or pagan mysticism – that we allow God to work through us. Otherwise we’re just doing it to show off for others.
Psalm 103:1-5: This is our very real reminder of what we are supposed to be doing. Bless the LORD with all your being, forgetting not His benefits as he is our Forgiver, our Healer, our Deliverer, our Redeemer, our Comforter, our Provider, our Life-giver. If all that we are – body, soul, and spirit – were to truly bless His holy name there is nothing we should want for (again, this passage does not promote the false doctrine of the prosperity gospel).
Psalm 112: The Psalms are rife with praise for what God provides when we keep Him as our 100% focus and this passage is no different. Its hard to read this and not want to serve the LORD. Blessings and wealth? Prosperity for keeping his commandments? Sign me up! Seriously, though, the underlying sentiment here is that these things are reserved for those who keep His ways, not out of a sense of legalism or a sense of reciprocation, but out of a pure joy for serving the LORD. Praise be to GOD for being so liberal with His blessings, but let us also be liberal with what He has given us in the way of money, time, and talents. Let us rejoice in serving our Sovereign God and being united under Heaven as its citizens. Let us truly be His ambassadors and stop playing these silly games. You thought God moved when Christ was on earth? Jesus Himself said to His disciples that those who fully take hold of what He has to offer and preaches it honestly and earnestly will do greater things than Christ Himself showed us. Forget walking on water or raising the dead. We should be walking on air and going anywhere we please in our work for the LORD. There should be no border closed to us, no ears to far to hear us, no language barrier to separate us. Boy, that’s the kind of mission work I’d love to be doing (and can be doing if I too could fully take hold of all these things)! There is nothing stopping those who are called by His name except our own unbelief.
Psalm 127:1: For those starting a business, these words need to ring true if God is to be truly part of it. He has to call you to the purpose, to each and every task, for Him to be part of it. There is no “Well we’ll start it and invite Him to join us, He always comes when He’s invited.” What a bunch of garbage! God isn’t some friendly neighbor, He’s the Creator of the Universe! He’s the Father of all life. He is the righteous, just, vengeful, wrathful, and perfect judge! You don’t just “invite Him on over.” Either He ordained you do the work or He didn’t. It’s that simple. Jerusalem’s walls didn’t get rebuilt because Nehemiah said, “It pains me to see the walls torn down and the city in disarray, let’s go build it and hope God blesses us.” NO! Nehemiah anguished over the sorry state of God’s people and His Holy City and said, “God, what do you want to do?!” More importantly, Nehemiah then went and did what God told him to do when He finally spoke. The same with the temple. Man didn’t say, “Let’s rebuild His temple and then invite Him along to work with us.” What happened is that a Godly man was burdened to see it rebuilt, and an unGodly man was touched by God to make sure it happened! God moved and man responded. Not the other way around. This is the cornerstone for starting my own business. God said, “Go and do it.” He never told me it would be easy (just as He never said such to Nehemiah and the others). He never told me I wouldn’t hit low spots or win every bid I put in. He told me to go to work, start a business, and minister to His children as He provides for it to be done. God is the center of my businesses because He is the reason I am in business. Without Him, I might as well go back to work for someone else.
Proverbs 16:3,8: This really goes along with all the rest of Scripture. My work needs to be committed to the LORD. Not to mammon, or Obama, or whomever else one might think they need to dedicate their work, play, or whatever. “Commit our works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established.” I cannot think of a single passage that better gives interpretation to the rest of Scripture then this one. Verse 8 also is a reminder of the value of being righteous (which includes holiness and justness) over what one could gain otherwise. I’d rather be poor in physical things then be unrighteous in God’s eyes. It’s a no-brainer for me, and should be as well for others who consider themselves True Believers.
1 Corinthians 10:31: The world really has a problem with this one. Romans 1 really summarizes up the why, but that shouldn’t stop any True Believer from joyfully giving God glory in everything we do. Compromise is trying to strangle the church, it always has. If it weren’t for the remnant who holds out and onto God’s words and promises, it probably would have a long time ago. Don’t go and do something for your glory, or the glory of some fleeting cause. Go and do it for God’s glory because it is what he called you to do!
Colossians 3:17,23-25: This isn’t the final word in running a Godly business, but this sums it up pretty good. I won’t expound on it as I’ll just repeat myself even more than I already have.
I leave you with these words, then, in the hopes you will find blessing in them, and that they truly are not my own words but those of God.
As believers we are constantly enticed, sneered at, persecuted, and reviled for our choice to follow the One, True, and Living God. If only we stand on His promises, enter into His watch-tower, and faithfully discharge the duties given to us then we can fully take hold of all that He wants to give us, show us, and teach us. I encourage you to test my words against Scripture and prayerfully seek the truth of them for yourselves. I put myself in a position of risk for daring to teach God’s word, whether or not I’m “ordained” (as men reckon such things), all teachers of His word are held to higher standards and those willfully being deceitful are in a heap-more trouble then anyone who openly declares hate for God has to worry about. I prayerfully submit to you that these are true teachings, and if I am mistaken may God correct me in a manner He deems appropriate.
Take care and God bless.